We are celebrating Women’s month under the theme “Press for Progress” and while women have come a long way, there is still more to be done. Women are oftentimes the victims of human trafficking. Dr. Abigail McKay, Policy Legislation Officer of RET International says empowering women and creating an awareness of the reality of human trafficking can help them avoid some pitfalls that are linked to human trafficking.
Dr. Abigail McKay, Policy Legislation Officer of RET: “Part of what RET International in Belize has been doing with leadership training for young people, high schoolers and young people under the age of 30 has been to try to do lifestyle leadership training where you are looking at self confidence, self esteem, decision making, goal setting – all of those are elements that are critical for anybody and certainly for women who may be in situations where they do not enjoy the best life possible- they are hopeful, they keep waiting for things to change but always its an expectation that others will do for them; it’s violence perpetrated against you. So what we do when we talk about trying to avoid the violence that may be lurking around us is to be aware, it is for us to be mindful, on guard. We can’t change it, we can’t change the porosity of the borders, we can’t exclude people from our country out of pure fear, we simply have to become prepared. The way we are asking our teenagers and young children even as young as four and five; we have to raise an awareness from every level.”
McKay said that it is essential to become cognizant of your environment and if you see something, then you should say something in order to stop the spread of human trafficking in Belize. Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar business by organized crime that traps victims and robs them of their self-worth and freedom.